Larry EchoHawk, U.S. assistant secretary for Indian affairs, is scheduled to be meeting today with representatives of various groups and departments at Haskell Indian Nations University, as he looks into concerns regarding leadership and operational issues firsthand.
The visit comes as Kansans in Congress, led by U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, have pushed the Department of the Interior to look into reports of canceled degree-accreditation visits, leadership ambiguity and other issues since late last year.
Roberts and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., recently met with EchoHawk and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — a former Senate colleague — in Roberts’ office to discuss concerns.
“I am pleased Assistant Secretary EchoHawk responded so quickly and is visiting Haskell this week,” said Roberts, R-Kan. “I believe he is committed to taking a serious look at the troubling issues at Haskell and talking to many interested stakeholders to get a full measure of the situation.”
EchoHawk will be making his first visit to the campus, which is part of the Bureau of Indian Education that he oversees within the Department of the Interior. President Barack Obama nominated EchoHawk for the post in April 2009, an appointment confirmed a month later.
EchoHawk, an attorney, is a member of the Pawnee Nation. In Idaho he has served as state attorney general and as an elected state representative, as well as chief general counsel for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation.